As you walk through our offices around 3.30pm each day, you can hear three things:
Whilst the first two are highly irrelevant, we should focus on the last. The sound of ‘WOAHHHH!’ is usually a sign our team are on calls with new Shopify entrepreneurs. “Why this explosion of emotion” I hear you cry? Well, it’s simple. We always ask 5 key questions to Shopify entrepreneurs before even starting to talk about sexy themes and videos. Yes, this does mean that some clients have to go back to the drawing board, but we don’t believe in building hotels in the desert.
So, how about you? Here are the questions:
Our clients sell a range of products and services. From bicycles to kids school meals to t-shirts. Whilst there are significant differences here, our clients use the following ways to investigate the viability of a Shopify store:
This isn’t about killing the vibe - it's about security. Whilst Shopify stores offer many people the world over with incredible opportunities, as with any business, a poorly defined offering is a bad start to your journey.
PLEASE. If you take nothing else from this blog, please take this. Defining your target market impacts on every element of running a Shopify store. Design, development, operations and marketing. Think about the person in your life that you love/admire the most. Do you just love/admire one thing. Unlikely. It probably a myriad of things they do - cooking you eggs on a Sunday, the way they smell of marshmallows, the brightly colored socks they buy you for your birthday. Well, your Shopify store needs to have that myriad of things too, that all align with your target customer. Check out our demographic profiling reportfor more insights.
Yes, we’d all love to be mathematicians with crystal balls, but the reality is that business doesn’t work that way. If you're thinking about running your Shopify store as an addition to your current job or if you’re thinking of running it full time, make a simple financial plan which includes:
Then simply do the math A - B + C = D (D being the amount you NEED to make from your Shopify store, per month). Oh, and don’t forget to cancel that subscription. Whilst this may seem simple, poor cash flow is always a killer of businesses. Once you have this, work out your break-even point, which will tell you how many of your products/services you need to sell per month. If you sell multiple products or services, create three break-even points at low, medium, high level of spending. Simply plug your figures into the following equation:
Fixed Costs/(Price - Variable Costs)
So, an example:
If the figure you get gives you anxiety, cut the fat. Do you really need that office overlooking the river?
It’s very common that entrepreneurs forget about one point of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Startup, Creation and Marketing. It's an easy trap to fall in, but can be addressed simply.
What is the total sum of funds you feel comfortable in committing, right now, to your business? Take the figure, and then split as follows:
You’ll probably notice two things.
Simple. Some of the most successful Shopify stores have been started in Coffee Shops with a 3-year-old laptop. That’s it. The creation and marketing budget? You’ll hear us talking about ‘hotels in the desert’ - the concept is simple, if we create a Shopify store, we need potential customers to see it and want to see it.
Sure, the dream is of course to build a profitable Shopify store that enables long vacations, and always choosing Steak and Lobster. But before you get there, it’s important to think about the day to day obligations you’ll have in the initial stages of establishing your Shopify store. For example:
Whilst it’s never going to be possible to have an exact plan without the elusive crystal ball, it’s always important to have a clear expectation of the involvement you’ll need to have, and estimated work level. What’s the point in eating that Steak if you're too tired to smother it in A1?
We hope these questions are useful - they give focus and structure to begin mapping out your move into Shopify. If you’d like to talk these through with one of our consultants, just hit the big purple box below, and we’ll make a date.